Timeline Sample One
On July 4th, a New York photographer and artist named Krys Fox was at Riis Park in Queens, a beach known as a safe haven for the LGBT community. As he was taking a photo, his towel accidentally slipped off and police officers swarmed to arrest him. With video of the arrest sparking outrage on social media, Fox's story went viral and drew sharp criticism from commenters and advocates who wondered: Why were there so many police to begin with?
The policing of queer-occupied spaces has a long and tumultuous history in American life.
In the summer of 1962, the Mansfield, Ohio, Police Department photographed men cruising for sex in a restroom under the town's main square. Artist William E. Jones made a found footage work out of the evidence. His film, Tearoom, consists of the material captured during the course of a routine crackdown on public sex in the American Midwest.
Sometimes, queer communities were left to flourish in spaces that society deemed undesirable. The Chelsea Piers during the 1970's to early 1980's was one of those places. Immortalized by photographers such as Peter Hujar and Alvin Baltrop, the Piers gained mythic status as a spot for liberation and community.
Timeline Sample Two
Two killings of African-Americans at the hands of police officers have sparked protests across the country this week. Fear and distrust of law enforcement led Black Lives Matter to drop out of SF Pride as the annual celebration expanded security in response to the Orlando Pulse shooting.
Over the past century, African-Americans had to strategize how to navigate a social landscape rife with prejudice and exclusion. They traveled with the help of The Negro Motorist Green Book.
According to the KQED Independent Lens blog, "The Green Book, which was published from 1936 until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, listed establishments across the U.S. (and eventually North America) that welcomed blacks during a time when segregation and Jim Crow laws often made travel difficult — and sometimes dangerous."
While hardly a document updated in real-time a la social media, the Green Book provided necessary information in easily pocketable form. "The white traveler has had no difficulty in getting accommodations, but with the Negro it has been different," the book noted. "He, before the advent of a Negro travel guide, had to depend on word of mouth, and many times accommodations were not available."
While tremendous advances have been made, an imbalance in policing clearly persists. The Green Book is a remnant of American exclusion (and community) that still has symbolic resonance today.
Timeline Sample Three
Art that hangs in blue-chip galleries and museums tends to be accompanied by an artist CV replete with BFA and MFA honors. Would you react differently if you knew the art was made by a disabled person without a typical education in fine art?
Creative Growth Art Center serves adult artists with developmental, mental, and physical disabilities, providing a professional studio environment for artistic development, gallery exhibition and representation, and a social atmosphere among peers. Not all of the work produced is transcendent, but much of it is.
Judith Scott was a legendary figure at the non-profit, with her work earning a posthumous retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum in 2015. Deaf and diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Scott produced intricately wrapped and mysterious forms.